The IX: Soccer Monday with Annie M. Peterson for September 23, 2019

FIFA Best Edition! Here's how I voted and why. Don't @ me. And Rapinoe's eloquent speech.

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Good afternoon! I’m Annie Peterson, and I’ll be your host. Please, hold your applause until the end.

First off, let’s all take a moment to remember last year’s awards and the twerking scandal. Here’s hoping with get through a FIFA best show that doesn’t debase women, shall we?

I’d also like to open my show on a personal note. I am a FIFA voter here in North America for the women’s player and coach category. FIFA approached me a few months ago about voting, and I was very honored they thought of me. There are many, many others out there who are more deserving.

I voted, in this order: Megan Rapinoe, Alex Morgan and Sam Kerr.

Now, a lot of folks might say, “But Rapinoe wasn’t the best player at the World Cup!’” (I’d agree.) Or, “She isn’t even the best player on the Reign!”

A lot of folks might even argue that there were more deserving players. And yep, there were a lot of really wonderful players last year. Ada Hegerberg was awesome for Lyon again, for one. Oh my gosh, Rose Lavelle was/is amazing.

And for those of you who know me, you might ask: `Wait, why not Christine Sinclair?’ And yes, it was a gut-wrenching decision that I’ll probably regret the rest of my life. Not to mention: she wasn’t on the list. But details.

Back to Rapinoe. She was the difference maker at the right time and on the world’s biggest stage. Plain and simple. Her goal-scoring pose has become iconic. And she used her voice for change and to draw attention to equality. No other woman embodied the sport this year like Rapinoe. And that’s why I voted for her. I think this is about way more than just Xs and Os.

I thought Alex Morgan was also really good when it mattered, especially in that match against England. She’s had a fantastic past two years in international play. I voted for Sam Kerr simply because I believe she is the most talented player in the world right now, club or country. Set the new NWSL scoring record. But neither of those players had the impact of Rapinoe.

I also voted for Jill Ellis. No brainer.

Interestingly, and I’m not sure I get it, but I was not asked to submit a vote for goalkeeper.

And Rapinoe single-handedly justified my vote with that freaking amazing gown she wore to the awards. And she wasn’t asked to twerk, not even one time. So, bonus.

Without further ado:

Women’s Player of the Year: Megan Rapinoe

Women’s Coach of the Year: Jill Ellis.

Best Women’s Goalkeeper: Sari van Veenendaal of the Netherlands.

Here is the FIFPro Women’s World 11:

GOALKEEPER: Sari van Veendaal (The Netherlands, Arsenal/currently Atletico)

DEFENDERS: Lucy Bronze (England, Olympique Lyonnais) Nilla Fischer (Sweden, VfL Wolfsburg/currently Linkopings) Kelly O’Hara (USA, Utah Royals) Wendie Renard (France, Olympique Lyonnais)

MIDFIELDERS: Julie Ertz (USA, Chicago Red Stars) Amandine Henry (France, Olympique Lyonnais) Rose Lavelle (USA, Washington Spirit)

FORWARDS: Alex Morgan (USA, Orlando Pride) Megan Rapinoe (USA, Reign FC) Marta Vieria (Brazil, Orlando Pride)

And with that, we’re done.

Thanks for tuning in to my FIFA best show! We’ll do it again next year if they’ll still let me vote.

I wish I had a car to give all of you who joined me here today! But I do have links!

This Week in Women’s Soccer

Reminder: First, the underlined words are the links. Second. CLICK these, even if you’ve already read them. Clicks = Attention from editors, producers and webmasters. Third, if you want to push out stuff you’ve written or read, email me!

My colleague Daniella Matar on the FIFA awards.

Forbes magazine’s “Most Powerful Women” profiles the U.S. team’s fight for equal pay.

Another Forbes story on FIFA’s investment in women’s soccer.

Hey! I get a mention in The Athletic!

AP on Infantino `hopeful’ that Iran will lift its ban on women attending matches. Hey, I’ve got an idea! Why not actually implement punitive measures against Iran until they comply with FIFA’s own rules? Like no more FIFA Forward funding. Or no international matches allowed in the country. Oh, hey, let’s not let the men’s team compete or qualify for the World Cup. THERE ARE LITERALLY SO MANY THINGS FIFA COULD DO RATHER THAN BE HOPEFUL.

Update to that story: FIFA has been `assured’ that Iran will allow women to attend a World Cup qualifier. Riggggggggttttt. I believe them. Sure.

The wonderful Kieran Theivam for The Athletic, column on HAO and growing the game.

Speaking of The Athletic: Here’s a really well-done and useful primer on the Equal Pay litigation from Meg Linehan. BOOKMARK this. Trust me.

The Equalizer on the formal induction of Abby Wambach and Sunil Gulati into the U.S. Soccer hall of Fame.

The Equalizer’s Jeff Kassouf with a great column on the NWSL’s ambitions. Sorry I missed this last week.

Caitlin Murray for Yahoo on US Soccer’s impending departure from the NWSL.

Tweet of the Week—%20Ann%20Odong%20🐨%20(@AnnOdong)%20a%20href=

Five at The IX: Megan Rapinoe’s acceptance speech, because it was wonderful

Gosh, imagine being Lionel Messi and thinking, `Geez, maybe I should have said more.’

Here ya go:

“I’m a little bit at a loss for words, if you can believe it. That rarely ever happens to me. First and foremost I want to thank my family. My twin sister is here with me today. All my friends and family back in Redding, back home. My lovely girlfriend who’s not able to be here. Thank you guys so much for all of the support that you’ve given me over all of these years and especially throughout this past year. All of the coaches that I’ve had throughout my whole life, but particularly this year and the last couple of years. Our coaching staff with Jill Ellis and the rest of them have put us all in a tremendous position to be as successful as we have been. All of my teammates that put up with all my shit all the time and let me be a little bit wild at times but reel me in when I need that a well, thank you to all of them currently and all of them that I’ve played with in the past.

As Gianni (Infantino) was saying, this was an incredible year for women’s football. For those of you who are just noticing that now, it’s okay, you’re a little late to the party but we’ll forgive you. We’re just getting started. It truly was incredible. The French Football Federation and FIFA put on an absolutely tremendous World Cup. To be a part of it is just indescribable. The crowds that we had and the enthusiasm, the quality on the field, was just amazing.

I told (Gianni), he stole a little bit of thunder talking about all the issues, he took a little page out of my playbook. But I was gonna say some of the stories that have inspired me most this year: Raheem Sterling and [Kalidou] Koulibaly, their incredible performances on the field, but the way that they’ve taken on the disgusting racism that they have to face (not only) this year, but probably for their whole lives. The young Iranian women who eventually set herself on fire because she wasn’t able to go to the games. The one out MLS player, Mr. (Collin) Martin, and the countless other female out LGBTQ players who fight so hard every day to a.) just play the sport that they love, but b.), also to fight the rampant homophobia that we have. Those are all the stories that inspire me so much, but they also admittedly make me a little bit sad and a little bit disappointed.

I feel like if we really want to have meaningful change, what I think is most inspiring would be if everybody other than Raheem Sterling, Koulibaly, if they were as outraged about racism as they were. If everybody else was that. If everybody was as outraged about homophobia as the LGBTQ players. If everybody was as outraged about equal pay or the lack thereof or the lack of investment in the women’s game other than just women. That would be the most inspiring thing to me. I feel like that’s my ask of everybody.

We have such an incredible opportunity being professional football players. We have so much success, financial and otherwise, we have incredible platforms. I ask everyone here, because I think everyone in this room probably has that crown that they’re bearing, lend your platform to other people. Lift other people up. Share your success. We have a unique opportunity in football, different to any other sport in the world, to use this beautiful game to actually change the world for better. So that’s my charge to everyone. I hope you take that to heart and just do something. Do anything. We have incredible power in this room.

Thank you so much. It is an absolute honor.”

Mondays: Soccer
By: Annie Peterson, @AnnieMPeterson AP Women’s Soccer
Tuesdays: Tennis
By Lindsay Gibbs, @Linzsports QUEEN OF ALL MEDIA
Wednesdays: Basketball
By: Howard Megdal, @HowardMegdal High Post Hoops
Thursdays: Golf
By Carly Grenfell, @Carlygren
Fridays: Hockey
By: Erica Ayala, @ELindsay08 NWHL Broadcaster

Written by Annie Peterson